Chapter 12.1 Public sector

Stronger planning policies to deliver emission reductions

Local authorities should strengthen their approach to Section 75 agreements with developers to leverage investment into community-owned sustainable transport solutions.

UK Govt
Scottish Govt
Local Authorities
Emissions reduction
Behaviour change

Planning decisions and policies will need to change in order to be compatible with net zero, the sustainable transport hierarchy and the new National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4). For example, commercial or residential developments should not be approved if they lock in car dependency, fail to facilitate active travel and the use of community, public or shared transport, or are inaccessible.

Local development plans can contain clear requirements to this effect which are necessary for approval. Local authorities should have a much more ambitious and sustainable approach to Section 75 agreements with developers, in partnership with existing local Community Transport operators, or by investing in new schemes.

Local authorities should leverage Section 75 agreements to require developers to invest in sustainable transport through contributions to existing or new Community Transport operators in their local area – for example, by restricting the number of car parking spaces at the same time as building in a community-owned closed loop car club from the beginning. Every shared car is estimated to take ten private cars off the road.

Creating new Community Transport schemes can create new, local jobs and volunteering opportunities. This policy would help in tackling transport poverty and forced car ownership through the provision of local, affordable and accessible shared transport options.

The planning system can also be a vital tool in making sure we build energy-efficient new buildings and retrofit existing buildings, see the ‘Decarbonising homes and non-domestic buildings – regulations’ policy in the Buildings chapter.

For further information:

Version 1.0: September 2023

The contents of this document will be updated on a regular basis.